We get to know Melbourne singer songwriter Claira J, who just dropped her beguiling debut single ‘Letting Go’.
Though Claira is no stranger to the screen or stage, ‘Letting Go’ marks her first foray into the world of original music. As she reveals, “I spent a lot of my career doing what I thought I should be doing. I let my music, my stories, go by the way side.”
Yes, there’s a lot more to the Claira J story than what we can orate here. So we’ll allow her to do the talking in our latest feature.
01. Name : Claira J.
02. Where are you based? Melbourne, Australia.
03. How did you get your start in music? I’ve been an actor and singer on the stage and screen for the last 15 years. I started out with a career in musical theatre then merged into film and TV and have been singing in corporate and cover bands for that period of time too.
I started writing music when I was about 15, and recorded my first demo and EP when I was at uni (WAAPA) at 24, however I never released it.
04. Give us five words to best describe you as an artist. I’d say five words to describe me as an artist would be; Story teller, emotional, transparent, empowering.
05. Tell us a little bit about your sound and how it developed. I’ve been a massive fan of Missy Higgins from the day she launched into the music scene. I have always felt drawn to that similar introspective way of writing and story telling and my music is heavily influenced by the lyric and the deeper meaning behind them.
I do definitely love big emotional pop ballads and sharing honest/personal stories. My sound is constantly evolving and depends what emotions I’m feeling at the time of writing. I feel that I have a contemporary pop sound with influences from Missy / London Grammar / Adele / Dido.
06. What’s your earliest musical memory? I was brought up in the Salvation Army church, so music was always a massive part of my life. My dad was also a professional musician and traveled the world as a leading euphonium player and I very much looked up to him and his success.
I remember being given my first live singing experiences on the stage at church around three or four years old and was always singing with my mum at the piano but I’m also told that I knew every lyric to ‘The Sound Of Music’ from the same age, as my grandparents would put it on for me every time I went to their house.
07. Who have been your musical influences? As mentioned above, Missy Higgins has been a huge influence on me, along with Sara Barellies, London Grammar, Elisa, Kate Miller-Heidke and Matt Corby, just to name a few.
08. What are your favourite songs of all time? Hands down ‘Pure Imagination’ from ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’ and ‘The Rainbow Connection’ from ‘The Muppets’.
09. Where’s your favourite place to listen to music? I get music from many sources and I love getting given new music from friends and family. Spotify is definitely my go to these days when I’m on a run, walk or if I’m out chilin at home or with friends etc.
However nothing beats live music and I try and get to as many gigs as I possibly can when the world is open. In the meantime, it’s been a YouTube-fest for replays of live music during lockdown.
10. Who are your go-to artists when you’re feeling : Happy? Sad? Introspective? Exhausted? I feel like I’ve experienced ALL of those emotions of late, and my current go tos aren’t just artists that I know, but more curated playlists that are based on the artist I desire at the time.
Currently I have Jordan Rakei, Tim Misch, FKJ, Moonchild and HONNE on rotation on their artist radio playlists. I do also love to smash out a bit of Alanis Morrisette when I’m feeling pissed off about something/someone ;)
11. What was the first album you ever bought? There were two; The Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’ and Tina Arena’s ‘Don’t Ask’.
12. Give us a little fun fact about yourself that people might not know. I won the Triple J Falls Festival competition in 2012 to perform with San Cisco on stage at Lorne playing an instrument that would ‘upstage’ the band.
And that instrument was… the ‘nose trumpet’ It’s a sound I make with my nose that sounds like I’m playing the trumpet. You can check out the scoop on YouTube.
13. What would your chosen career be if music wasn’t an option? Well I’ve had a lovely career in entertainment thus far as an actor and will definitely continue acting outside of music, however I also have transferable skills as a high performance coach and mentor and would love to do this on a larger scale. That or music management.
14. What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career? Don’t give a F**K what anyone else thinks… just keep it real and be you. Music and art is so subjective so you never know who you’re going touch with your music and stories along the way.
15. What’s been the highlight of your musical journey so far? This is just the beginning of my solo journey into the music industry but I’d have to say that the creation and filming of my debut single’s music video concept was definitely the highlight so far. As an indie artist I managed to attract the most insane team of professionals to work and I can’t wait to gift it to you all.
16. What’s been the strangest experience you’ve had in the business? This isn’t a bad experience, just more strange because I never would have predicted it could ever happen.
17. If you could trade places with any artist in the world right now, who would it be? Dua Lipa is killing it right now. She’s got an incredible team around her and pumping out so many epic tracks with killer visuals. The world has really taken that beauty under its wing and with a good reason. And she’s a babe!!
18. Tell us about your debut release. I wrote ‘Letting Go’ over two years ago. It kind of just fell out of me without me realising it. At the time I was going through a full blown mental and physical breakdown after my relationship ended abruptly and I had hit a tipping point in my life.
I had lost my voice, my will to live, direction in life and my heart was so broken. I felt so stuck, like I was trapped in my own body and head and couldn’t get out. It was like I was stuck in stone in a way, which is the inspiration behind the visuals of my upcoming video.
‘Letting Go’ is my ‘Fight Song’. It is all about self-empowerment and letting go of what may not be serving you anymore. It is a song for anyone that has been affected by adversities in life, that might be lacking self belief or anyone that just needs a voice that’s a little louder than their own to help them through what ever they might be dealing with.
It has some relevant parallels to draw with the shifting perspectives of our current world that’s revaluating, refocusing and collectively choosing to see things in a new way. This simplest message behind the lyrics is ‘YOU GOT THIS’!
19. What do your future plans involve? Well this is really just the beginning for me. I’m working on new music and hope to get back into the studio as soon as restrictions lift. I also have some acting work coming up too and of course the musical next year, but for now I’m going to enjoy the ride that comes with my first release and see what happens from here on in.
I’m just really excited to be creating art and finally be giving the world a little piece of me.
20. Where can our audience catch you live? Currently in my lounge room in Melbourne! Otherwise, the only gig that I have locked in for now is in 2022 at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre and other venues across all the major cities in Australia when I tour with Brian Mannix’s ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Countdown’ musical. I’m sure there will be solo/band gigs in between then though when we open up again.
WEBSITE : http://www.clairaj.com
INSTAGRAM : https://www.instagram.com/clairajmusic
FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/clairajmusic
TIKTOK : https://vm.tiktok.com/ZSJtoeuJ8/
TWITTER : https://twitter.com/clairajmusic
SOUNDCLOUD : https://soundcloud.com/clairajmusic
YOUTUBE : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkJdtbJUbM9lDxCLqAJu5fA